Jordan’s speech

Supposedly, Genghis Khan once said: “The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

I don’t know if Michael Jordan ever studied Genghis Khan, but he lived his basketball life according to that philosophy. Well, maybe not the “gather into your bosom his wives and daughters” part. But MJ was, if nothing else, a ruthless basketball assassin. He specialized in vanquishing his enemies. Heck, he delighted in it. More than anything else, that’s what drove him to win six championships and become the greatest player in the history of the game.

It’s also what drove him to give a rather surprising speech at his Hall of Fame induction. Jordan, with all eyes on him once again, laid some serious waste to his enemies and even a few friends: Jerry Krause, the “freeze-out gang” (Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson and George Gervin), Kevin Loughery, Pat Riley, Jeff Van Gundy, Bryon Russell, the “media naysayers,” his old high school coach…even Dean Smith, a father figure who didn’t choose Jordan to appear on a Sports Illustrated cover in 1982 because he was a freshman, was mildly chastised for crossing the GOAT.

A lot of people found MJ’s speech to be in bad taste. (For example, here, here, here, here, and here.) Others, like Michael Wilbon, said that was just Mike being Mike.

For my part, I was a little surprised to realize that (seemingly) inner peace hasn’t been achieved by a man who has conquered the world. He still needed one last pound of flesh, one last opportunity to drive his enemies before him. Or maybe that was the most fitting tribute of all. After all, threats, challenges, competition…those were the things — moreso than friends, family, coaches, agents, shoe contracts, etc. — that made Michael Jordan the greatest there ever was. And that’s what Jordan told us. In his own special way.

He also hinted that his basketball life isn’t necessarily over. Said MJ: “One day you might look up and see me playing the game at 50. Oh, don’t laugh. Never say never, because limits like fears [are] often just an illusion.”

If that really is the case, then Jordan already has his first challenger

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27 Responses to Jordan’s speech

    Nicky C September 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    I would have bet any amount of money that Jordan’s speech was going to go one of two ways: brief and dull, where MJ said all the right, professional, humble, and safe things about not being the G.O.A.T. (as he did in the Wilbon interview), or brief and inspirational, where he spoke about hard work, dedication, and how there will never be another Michael Jordan. Either way, I knew it would be something special, something great. I thought it would be the exclamation mark on the most illustrious career any athlete or fan has ever seen or ever will see. I figured I was going to witness a speech that I would never forget, one that I would be talking about forever and eventually show my kids. Well, the speech turned out to be more than memorable, but not for the reasons it could have and should have been.

    All my life, I wanted to “Be Like Mike.” As someone who grew up absolutely idolizing Jordan, (unrightfully) building him up to be the perfect specimen of a human being in my own head, I can’t stress how disappointed I am in Michael’s HOF induction speech; the tone, the delivery, and the purpose of the speech just seemed amiss. I just feel…let down. I feel heartbroken. We didn’t witness a speech last night from the classy, well-spoken, iconic “Air Jordan.” Last night, we didn’t get to see that carefully crafted flawless persona that so many of us looked up to our entire childhoods. What we did witness was the Jordan that we always heard hushed rumors about, but never cared to believe was truly part of his character. We saw the ruthless, arrogant, and classless Jordan last night, the trash talking basketball player who was willing to be selfish and rip your heart out in order to win at any cost.

    He spent more time trashing his few doubters than acknowledging his many admirers. He wasted more energy degrading Bryon Russell, John Starks, Isiah Thomas, and Jeff Van Gundy than speaking about the importance of his teammates. MJ had the support of many teammates in the crowd – Pippen, Rodman, Paxon, Kerr, and Kukoc amongst them – and he only singled out Pippen for a brief moment, while he ranted about Russell for two minutes. Instead of sharing an anecdote that put into perspective how much he needed his teammates to win his individual and team accolades, he told the Tex Winter story about how there is “no I in ‘team’, but there is in ‘win’.” He barely mentioned Phil Jackson, the man who taught him to play within a system and on a team, but he awkwardly fumed about Krause and Reinsdorf for more than a minute, letting us all know that players win championships, “not organizations.” His bullying words towards his organization were disrespectful and selfish, and the jabs at his former bosses were completely unnecessary, especially considering the entire world was on his side the whole time the feud was going on.

    All the other inductees spoke glowingly about their families, telling the crowd about each of their loved ones and how they were crucial in their success. Jordan simply said, “I’d hate to be you guys,” building up his own ego even more while putting his children down indirectly. He could have apologized for the shadow they have to live in, and he could have told the world how great of a job they do of walking in his shoes. Instead, he complained about the ticket prices and how he had to shell out the money for his kids to be at the ceremony, despite being the wealthiest athlete on the planet. And then there was the disgusting decision Jordan made in bringing that twenty year old piece of arm candy.

    Jordan didn’t thank Tim Grover, his longtime personal trainer for helping him become one of the finest athletes the world will ever see, nor did he thank his sponsors from over the years, not even Nike or Gatorade, the companies who arguably created the Jordan persona that is so beloved around the world, and the one that was so sorely missed last night.

    Maybe it was just his emotions. He broke down before he even started, and maybe his mind was just racing too much, causing him to jump all over the place and not think completely clearly. Maybe the realization that “this really is the end” was just too overwhelming for him and he got caught in the heat of the moment. Maybe…but probably not.

    Jordan had the opportunity and the obligation to give us something extraordinary and inspirational and Jordanesque, and he blew his one chance. Jordan has always been at his best under pressure, with the clock winding down and the game on the line, and he never seemed to disappoint. But with his final game on the line, with his clock finally expiring, he shot an air ball. It honestly sickens me that the lasting image that I and so many other loyal fans will have of Jordan is not his beautiful follow through at the climax the 1998 NBA Finals or even his circus fadeaway over Shawn Marion at the 2003 All-Star Game, it will be this uncomfortable, demeaning, and selfish speech, where the image of Jordan that we’ve held for so long was finally shattered. All my life I’ve wanted to “Be Like Mike,” but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at him the same way ever again.

    Jonathan September 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    Nicky C – Excellent post. You write that you were hoping for a “Jordanesque” speech and that’s exactly what it was: a classless speech from a classless individual. Unfortunately his undisputed greatness on the court is not matched with a greatness as a human being. Although it must seem like being told Santa isn’t real, I commend you for being able to look beyond your fandom and examine closer the different aspects of a man you so revered. There should be more people with the same intelligence and openness as you have demonstrated.

    Brad S. September 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    Nicky C:

    Thank you for that post. You put it beautifully.

    boppinbob September 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    The GOAT defeated himself last night and turned himself into a “goat”. The …no “i” in team…is an “i” in win…” quote does not bode well for his future as VP of Basketball Operations for the Charlotte Bobcats. Winning a championship starts with the organization. While Krause inherited MJ, he carefully crafted a supporting cast through the draft and very smart trades and the occassional free agent that complemented the skills of the GOAT. The Bulls never would have won a single championship without the best team defense the NFL has ever seen. The GOAT apparently thinks he did that by himself. MJ was the best scorer in the league who could not get past the second round of the playoffs until Krause built the team that complemented his skills. He now has the responsibility for the Bobcats that Jerry Krause had while MJ was with the Bulls. He apparently did not learn anything from Krause, Jackson, Winters et. al. For the Bobcats sake I hope he is only refusing to admit the lessons that were available. He came across as a spiteful, selfish egomanic. He will always be the GOAT skills wise, but he is a “goat” in his public image now. How many people want to “Be like Mike” now, NOT ME.

    boppinbob September 14, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    I meant the best defense the NBA has ever seen. I listened to that speech hoping I just interpeted it wrong the first time I listened to it. Unfortunately the more I listened the worse it got.

    twalter September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    Not the classic speech. But 100% MJ. IT was real, and it was him, so I don’t get all of the negativity because he didn’t thank his mom his dad, and do a little dance like a normal speech.

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    Lance Uppercut September 14, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    That was well put Nicky C and I can see how someone you idealized had let you down but as in life, the best lessons are usually the cruelest. Michael Jordan is a great basketball player and that is it. He’s not a motivation speaker. Basketball is a game of trash talk and making the opposition look foolish, from the streets of the inner city all the way to the NBA. Although Jordan’s speech doesn’t come off inspirational, don’t let the lesson pass you by because you were angry at the delivery. What I heard from Jordan’s speech is that from adversity you have to find strength. Whether it’s the people that doubt you or the situation you are put in, you need to find a way to overcome. I think what he was trying to say, although certainly it didn’t seem like it, was that all this opposition is what got him to where he is today. He certainly is the product of his challenges and for that he should be very thankful. I love MJ but as a ball player. That night he showed that he is human, he showed that he loved the game, hated his opposition and found the strength within himself to make it where he is today.

    rU September 15, 2009 at 12:18 am #

    I thought it was great.
    “…Because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”

    Best quote.

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    Roger Hicks September 15, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    whats the problem? its sad. our american society has become so adapted to sugar coated politically correct speeches from our public figures that now mj has a blem on his record. pathetic. i say kudos to you mike. instead of me being like mike, mike is like me. meaning. I WILL NOT DIE WITHOUT THOSE AROUND ME KNOWING MY TRUE FEELINGS. YOUR FEELINGS BE DAMNED. mikes legacy is even more solid now for he showed the world that he worked hard for his goat’ness. that he fought to be the best, even when the proverbial ‘foot on his neck’ was pressing down hard.
    to make this clearer, imagine how many players he kept from getting a ring in the 90’s. the facts are there. he leaves the league for two years and ALLOWS hakeem a couple of rings. during that time, the bulls organization did what? our society is over ran with candy a**ed cowards. too afraid of offending. THAT, WAS A SPEECH, MIKE.

    PeteRoc September 15, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    The speech didn’t bother me because I’ve already seen and heard MJ in a HOF-like setting already. The ’94 Salute to Michael after his first retirement, televised on TNT no less was enough for me. That was my moment, and it was all the more meaningful because it was so close to the peak of his playing days. If that wasn’t enough, there was the Atlanta all-star weekend in his last season with the Wizards that turned into a tribute to MJ weekend.

    We’ve had so many manufactured MJ moments over the years, I have to imagine the guy whose been front and center through all of them might simply be worn out from it all.

    I thought this was MJ’s best line:

    “…What don’t you know about me…”

    IMO it revealed an ambivalence about the moment. I’m sure MJ could have had the best speech writers on the planet craft a memorable speech and give everyone yet another kodak moment. For better or worse, he decided to reveal the secret behind what ultimately made him worthy of that HOF spectacle.

    BigWay September 15, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    All of you who are dissappointed or worse are simply fools. You need to stop worshipping these sports figures as heros as human beings, they simply never are.

    Enjoy the games, the competition, being a fan of your team and your city.

    I have never had any desire to meet any of these people and could generally care less about them as human beings while at the same time being an insanely rabid fan of my Chicago teams.

    As long as the guy is a reasonable facsimile of a human being outside the game and not sociopath I celebrate his greatness as perfomer nothing more nothing less.

    Celebrity worship is one of the many reason that we are in the decline of the Roman Empire phase of our existance as a great nation and society.

    Jordan may have been the greatest ever, but he is still like all the rest of us, nothihng more than a flawed human being, get over it.

    BadDave September 15, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    BigWay – At the risk of being an optimist, I *do* have role models. John Stockton’s one of them. Great work ethic. Awesome dad. Amazing focus. Polite. Caring. Do I think he’s flawless? No. But I do think that if I were more like him I would have a more positive impact on fellow men and women, including my kids.

    I do agree that thinking someone’s the shiz for one aspect, i.e. athletic skill, is a load of shenanigans. I’d like to pistol whip Jordan for his behaviors, and I’d never want him on my pickup team. And, at the risk of many a Bulls’ fan’s ire, I don’t think Jordan was the greatest ball player ever. But I won’t deny he’s top 3, and far and away an amazing physical athlete. (Or was, before sweater vests and the gut that’s starting to resemble mine)

    And I am disappointed. So I’m a fool I guess, but I had hoped that Jordan would realize that his word have impact; they change people’s lives in some small way. That alone would have dictated a more appropriate and supportive speech.

    Sniper236 September 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm #

    BigWay, your post was dead on.
    Everyone’s crying about their image of Jordan is now spoiled forever. That speaks more about their grasp of reality than MJ’s speech. Anyone who thought he was a great human being and role-model hasnt been paying much attention.

    I disagreed with every one of Nicky C’s points, and frankly, I am a little worried for him. Comments like “building him up to be the perfect specimen of a human being in my own head” and feeling “heartbroken” by a speech he wanted to tell his kids about…… oh dear….. what world do you live in?

    How was the speech classless? MJ didnt call anyone out. He just said “these people said these things, and these are the things that motivate me”. There was no malice or spite. I would prefer a speech were a sportsman actually reveals what makes him tick as opposed to hiding behind an endless list of cliches.

    Nicky, ever the adoring fan, tries to excuse Jordan’s speech by suggesting his was emotional and his mind was racing too much. No. This is the guy that bears the weight of millions of fans’ expectations every day, is always poised and handles media attention with as much ease as he did Detlef Schrempf. He knew what he wanted to say.

    Nicky expresses opinions on MJ dissing Krause and not thanking Tim Grover, Nike or Gatorade!!! Er, ok. I guess you are entitled to your opinion.
    “Thank you, Gatorade, if it werent for those commercials, I wouldnt be standing here today”. Maybe!

    I think the speech spoke volumes about how he ‘became’ Michael Jordan. What would have happened if he basked in the glory of being the most talented scorer since Wilt? He could have have been satisfied with that. He could have been aother Vince Carter or Clyde Drexler – very talented perimeter players with tremendous athletic gifts – but without the drive and motivation to push themselves to their limits.

    Think back to the comment Magic made about Larry: “Thank you for pushing me to a place where I dont know how I got up there myself”. Michael never had that ONE person to push him up there. Pistons, Knicks, Jordan-stoppers came and went. NEXT.

    That drive and intensity had to come from somewhere. These adversaries are the people that pushed him to become the player he was. Dean Smith taught him, sure. Phil Jackson opened his eyes to different aspects of the game. Scottie stood by his side (for the most part) throughout their dominance. But these people didnt ‘make’ Michael Jordan the player he turned into.

    Actually, there was one comment that Nicky C made that I did agree with. “We saw the ruthless, arrogant Jordan last night, the trash talking basketball player who was willing to be selfish and rip your heart out in order to win at any cost.”

    Totally with you right there. Its funny though. I saw that Jordan the last 20 years too.

    I guess thats why so many people hate Kobe nowadays. Ruthless, arrogant, selfish, win-at-any-cost. Not good traits to have in everyday life. But who cares? I wont ever know the guy. As a basketball player though, those are exactly the qualities you would wish your superstar to have.

    Yes, I want role models that are selfless, caring and understanding. I look for those traits in my friends and family.
    If your role-model is a sports star with a media-cultivated image that you will never actually meet or get to know, I think you need to look a little closer to home for who has the problem.

    At the end of the day, you can think that MJ should have been gracious, humble and said the standard things you have to say in such speeches. Thanking family, mentioning sponsors. You might think it strange, but I prefer basketball players to talk about basketball and I like the fact that MJ felt he could talk freely about what put him in the Hall of Fame.

    Rick Forgee September 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    To Nicky C. and those that share his view:

    I would counter that I am rather disappointed in the view you share. Leading up to the speech I worried that Jordan might ride into the sunset without ever giving us an unobscured glimpse of the person he actually is. I was very familiar with the portrayal of Michael Jordan that had been fed to me to sell sneakers made in sweatshops, sugary sports drinks, poorly-made underwear, and a league in turmoil. Growing up, I was bombarded with this image and as I entered adulthood and started to consider it, it’s dishonesty made my stomach turn.

    I am surprised so many of you do not share similar feelings. You seem to show little regard for the fact that if Jordan actually was the jovial, earnest guy corporations convinced you he was, he’d probably have accomplished nothing as a professional athlete, relatively speaking. All those moments on the court that continue to stir our imaginations can be attributed not only Jordan’s drive to win, but to prove beyond any doubt that he would be the greatest to play basketball. Who knew that so many would find this drive so difficult to look at? ‘Tis sad, indeed.

    And you’re right, in his final opportunity to deliver the type of over-produced, misleading “Jordanesque” moment we are so familiar with, we received something totally different. You can interpret Jordan’s speech as a slap in the face – most have and most will – but it is more of a gift. We were finally allowed to see his competitive spirit unadulterated. Here’s a man who is competitive to the point of being antisocial – of course, his performance on the court always stood as proof of this, but as fans, the powers that be (see: above paragraph) always denied us the opportunity to have that truth confirmed by Jordan in his own words. That is, until the other night.

    Keep sippin’ the Gatorade y’all, but I appreciated the dose of reality. I finally saw the Mike I always aspired to be – the one who demanded excellence of himself and everyone around him; the one who never took a day off from work (see: The Flu Game); the one who believes there are no limits or obstacles that cannot be broken down through determination and belief in yourself, and Goddamn, it was beautiful. Here’s a man who sincerely believes he can play in the NBA at 50 years old, and I wonder if the collective laughter of the crowd wasn’t enough to ensure that we might one day see it. So, on behalf of Michael Jordan, FUCK Y’ALL.

    Post-Script: And seriously, John Stockton was notoriously held as one of the dirtiest players in the league. But, who cares because he was gracious and told a few jokes at his Hall of Fame induction so I guess he’s a role model now.

    Rick Forgee September 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Post-Post-Script: To the guy that said he wouldn’t want Michael Jordan on his pick-up team: Seriously? I understand you’re trying to make a point, but seriously? C’mon man. Seriously? We’re talking about Michael Jordan. The speech made you that upset?

    Emil Rodgers September 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    What a bunch of hypocrites you all are that feel that MJ’s speech was less than tasteful. Let me remind you all of a few things. 1) With all the teammates MJ has had over the years the one man that was always a constant was Pippen. So, there is no need to go down an entire laundry list of who helped him win championships, especially, when he already thanked the entire organization. (Remember, Loughery, Collins, Krause Reinsdorf etc.) 2) For his entire career we have wondered where did he get his motivation to be great every time his sneakers touched the floor. Now that we know exactly where and how he was motivated in the game of basketball; we want to criticize him for his honesty. In a sports world where, honesty, morals and values, are constantly an afterthought for today’s athlete because it’s all about the me factor and performance enhancers, and brusshes with the law. 3) None of the people he thanked or poked a little fun at during his speech, seemed to have a problem with what he said. They all joined him in laughter, and truly enjoying the detailed memories he recollected. Anybody can give you a plain, drawn-out history of how the made to the top of the mountain all by themself. But, Jordan didn’t do that! Give credit to the coaches, teammates,organizations, media, opponents, brothers and sisters, and many others that priovided him the motivation to want to strive to be the best! Bottom line, if it wasn’t for the Isaih Thomas’, Bryon Russell’s, Leroy Smith’s, Joe Dumar’s, Pat Riley’s and the list goes on and on… But, if it wasn’t for all these people; there wouldn’t be a MJ! There would not be any Air Jordan highlights and stories to tell! He was real, eloquent, funny, and he didn’t damage anyone’s character or offend anyone. What he did do was show the world, he’s human, and not some mythical superhero that came from the heavens. He gave us the belief that, we too can fly high if we are self-motivated and self-confident, and of course have the love and support from family, friends, and teammates! I love you to death, MJ! Thank you, for all the wonderful memories, and your induction speech; was a high-flying, rim-rattling, wind-mill tomahawk dunk!!!! 23 forever!

    granville waiters September 15, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    Thank you BigWay. grow up soccer moms.

    Jojo September 15, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    Interesting comments…I’m kind of torn between both poles. Totally agree that Jordan’s speech was a reflection of what made him tick and was refreshing in its own way. I grew up watching the Bulls and MJ is the most amazing and competitive athlete I’ve seen to this day. I always loved hearing stories about how insanely competitive he was (there was a story about how he punched a teammate of his during practice because he wasn’t playing good enough D on him). At the same time, on a night when you’re being acknowledged like that, I think it’s pretty poor that MJ couldn’t acknowledge some of the people who helped him achieve so much. He wasn’t great solely because he was a psychotically-competitive maniac. He had to learn the game, and he had to be surrounded by the right group of players. Just seems like a little grace would have been called for, even if he couldn’t fake humility.

    What I find really interesting is how some people think that having a huge ego was a major part of what made him great. Really? Hakeem is the best center I’ve ever seen and the guy is pretty humble. Bill Russell won a boatload of championships and he apparently threw up before games and is by all accounts I’ve seen a stand-up guy. Did you ever see Barry Sanders celebrate a touchdown? How about Wayne Gretzky? I think you can be ultra-competitive and humble/gracious.

    So I guess I’m alright with the fact that Jordan’s speech was a reflection of him. But I’m not ready to celebrate the fact that he’s an arrogant prick, and I find it odd that people say it’s ok that he’s an arrogant prick because he wouldn’t have been so great otherwise. Yeah, it doesn’t matter because it’s just sports and it’s not like we know these guys. Barkley was right about role models. Still, MJ’s speech showed that he’s an a-hole, and I don’t believe for a second that you have to be an a-hole to be great in sports.

    andres Lopez September 16, 2009 at 4:00 am #

    MJ rules!!!

    Boppinbob September 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

    Jordan’s contention that organizations do not win championships is the only thing that bothers me about the speech. If he wanted to say the Jerry Krause had nothing to do with the 6 championships won by the Chicago Bulls then he should have had the balls to say that. I am sure that if the Bobcats ever win a championship while MJ is involved with their organization MJ will be right up front claiming some responsibility for the championship. Thus making himself a liar. In my mind MJ will always be the GOAT. But the Bulls organization had something to do with winning the 6 championships, including Jerry Krause. I doubt that Krause would have come if invited. But I would not be surprized if MJ went on record that he would NOT come if Krause was invited.

    Sean September 17, 2009 at 3:14 am #

    i think people failed to see what MJ is really trying to say. MJ, at his HOF speech did not trash talk, he just said what he has done. and he did that without the sugarcoats, as vicious as they come… and i’d say, very JORDANESQUE.

    when he said “there’s no I in WIN”, remember that he DID make his team win first. he competed, scored most of the points, but his intention is to make his TEAM win… which he accomplished.

    when he talked about himself being cut from the team… what he did was he made himself better so he can tell the coach that “you were wrong”… he didnt just rant and complain why he was cut (like some would). instead, he made himself better to prove he should be in that team.

    as for bryon russel, as MJ said it… “i gave him a lot of chances to guard me”… MJ just gave russel his chance to prove he can walk the talk.

    and as for the organization… MJ was right in saying that at the end of the day, it is the players that play and make the team win. as a good soldier, he never made his flu as an excuse and played perhaps one of his finest games of his career, and they won of course.

    also, if you remember during his days in chicago, he just played day-in and day-out until his teammates got better, until he got teammates that fit the system, until he got better coaching staffs… but he just competed to win even before they came. unlike some “superstars” today who just complain and ask the organization to get them better teammates/coaches or they’ll bolt out (Kobe, KG, Lebron, Pierce… the list seemed endless). but MJ just held on competing. and besides, chicago had a taste of the team that “krause has built” without MJ for 2 years. no MJ, no championship.

    I remembered MJ’s “Maybe Its my Fault Ad” (, and this is practically what he’s saying. All he did was motivate himself through his failures, challenge himself to be better (if not to be the best), take every challenge given to him and add them as fuel to the fire…

    and at his HOF speech, he just told everyone “this is what I’ve done, and i thank these guys for telling me i couldnt do it”

    very Jordanesque.

    Brad S. September 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    Who are some of you people??? I mean, I have been reading this site every day for a year and suddenly some of you show up and shoot derisive comments at Nicky C for feeling the way he does. Why?

    Look, he (and I) was a kid while this was happening. Do you remember the “Be like Mike” theme song? It was sung by kids. Do you remember Space Jam. It was a cartoon applicable to kids. His shoes were the most popular in school. His entire entity was geared to attract kids! He was built up to be a real life superman, and I’m sure you understand if as a nine year old I (and Nicky C.) bought it!

    Obviously, as a grown man, you tend to become callous, more pessimistic, and understand athletes are just other men. Flawed just like the rest of us. However, that doesn’t mean that we in the “Be Like Mike” generation are going to celebrate the dy we find out for sure that MJ is phsycotic!

    No one wants to find out that Big Bird was played by a child molester or that H.R. Puffinstuff was originally penned by Hitler. Sometimes, even though you know better, you want your childhood innocence left alone. I feel like Nicky was just mourning the loss of a piece of that, (I know I was) and writing that post was cathartic. Is that really so hard to understand?

    Nicky C September 17, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    I understand many of your opposing views, and I can surely appreciate the fact that many of you were able to see that there was a difference between Jordan (TM) and Jordan the man, but I am surely not a “fool” or a “soccer mom” for feeling the way I do. Thanks for putting that into perspective, Brad. I grew up in the “Be Like Mike” generation (thanks for that term!) where Mike was Superman without a cape; he could, in fact, fly. He stood for all that was good in my average, comfy bubble life as a child – hard work, determination, etc. – and if I wanted it bad enough, I could be like him. And I, like so, so many others, tried. We truly wanted to be like him because we didn’t know any better. Everyone, even more mature people (including all of you who attacked my POV), put MJ up on a pedestal, so we followed suit as completely impressionable kids. All we saw was the somewhat regular / somewhat extraordinary person, with his bald, smiling face playing ball with cartoon characters and against real bullies; the guy who ate Big Macs like my dad; the guy who did the moonwalk with Michael Jackson; the guy who ate hot dogs at the ball park; the guy who inspired others to fly, both literally and metaphorically. I’ll never forget “Michael Jordan Day” at my elementary school following his first retirement in the early 90s, which was a school wide celebration day where everyone in the school wore Bulls gear and danced to “Be Like Mike” in the hallways at the end of the day. And no, I am not kidding. That’s what he meant to us growing up. My entire childhood, Mike was portrayed as a real life hero, a real life Superman, a real life role model. So call me naive, call me innocent, call me inexperienced, but don’t call me an ignorant fool for buying into Jordan (TM) as the real Jordan, because up until now, generation “Be Like Mike” thought they were one and the same.

    Dan September 17, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    I loved everything about his speech.

    mike killer September 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    MJ can say what-ever the hell he wants. He deserve it, after helping the Bulls win 6 championship titles, with MVP numbers, and being one of the best players to ever play this game. Go Bulls!!! and lets just hope that they can continue building on to their success with new player like D. Rose for a seventh championship title.

  26. Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    wierd !!


  1. D-League owners wants Jordan versus Russell » By The Horns - September 23, 2009

    […] the story so far. During his Hall of Fame induction speech, MJ called out Bryon Russell: “From this day forward, if I ever see him in shorts, I’m coming at him.” […]

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